Torrone, the classic Italian nougat, is easy to make at home! This traditional recipe is scented with honey, orange, and almond flavors, and packed with toasted almonds. As with many egg white-based candies, nougat does not do well in humidity, so try to choose a low humidity day to make this candy.
Traditionally, nougat is made with edible rice paper, to make it easier to slice and serve. I've included a note at the bottom of the recipe about where to find rice paper, and what to do if you can't find any.
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 cups plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided use
- 1 cup honey
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp orange extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 2 cups toasted almonds
- Optional: edible rice paper
1. Prepare an 8x11-inch pan by lining it with plastic wrap, then spraying it with nonstick cooking spray, taking care to spray the sides well. (For thinner nougat, a 9x13-inch pan can be substituted instead.) Place the edible rice paper in a single layer on the bottom of the pan—you may need to cut the pieces to fit the pan.
2. Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a large stand mixer that has been thoroughly cleaned and dried.
Any traces of grease on the bowl or whisk will prevent the egg whites from beating properly.
3. Combine 3 cups of sugar, honey, corn syrup, and water in a large saucepan over medium heat. The mixture will foam up as it cooks, so be sure your pan is large enough so it can safely triple in size. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any stray sugar crystals. Insert a candy thermometer, and cook the syrup, stirring occasionally, until the mixture cooks to 290 degrees Fahrenheit (143 C).
4. When the syrup reaches 270 F (132 C), start beating the egg whites and salt with the large mixer using the whisk attachment. When the whites form soft peaks, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, a little at a time, until the whites are shiny and can hold firm peaks. Ideally, this stage should be reached when the sugar syrup reaches 290 F (143 C), but if the whites are at stiff peaks before the syrup is ready, stop the mixer so the whites are not overbeaten. Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment.
5. Continue to cook the syrup until it reaches 290 degrees F (143 C), then remove the pan from the burner and carefully pour it into a large 4-cup measuring cup, or similarly sized container with a spout. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly and carefully stream the hot syrup into the egg whites. (If you don't have a container with a spout, be very careful when pouring the hot sugar syrup directly from the saucepan into the mixer.)
6. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high and continue to beat the egg whites for 5 minutes, until very thick, stiff, and shiny. Add the three extracts and beat briefly to incorporate them.
7. Add the toasted almonds to the bowl, and stir until they're well-incorporated. The candy will be very sticky and stiff.
8. Scrape the candy into the prepared pan, then use an offset spatula or knife sprayed with nonstick cooking spray to smooth the top. Cover the top completely with another layer of rice paper, cut to fit. Place a pan of the same size on top of your nougat, and place a large book or other heavy object in the pan to weigh it down. Let set at room temperature for several hours.
9. When you are ready to cut the nougat, lift it from the pan using the plastic wrap as handles. Spray a large sharp chef's knife with nonstick cooking spray, and cut the nougat into small squares. If the knife gets too sticky, periodically wash it with hot water and dry it between cuts.
10. Nougat can be served immediately or stored in an airtight container at room temperature. It is sticky and will gradually lose its shape once cut, so for storage purposes, wrap individual squares in nonstick waxed paper.
Ingredient Note:This recipe calls for edible rice paper, also known as wafer paper. The rice paper helps prevent the nougat from sticking to everything and makes it easier to cut, serve, and store the candy. It can be found in some kitchen and gourmet stores, or purchased online. Sugarcraft.com carries rice paper, and I have had good luck buying it on ebay for a low cost. (Note that edible rice paper is not the same as thin rice paper wrappers intended for spring rolls). If you cannot find any, line your pan with foil and spray it thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. Smooth the top as best you can, and skip the compacting step entirely.